Northampton tops Riverside

Published 12:22 am Saturday, November 3, 2012

CREEKSVILLE – It was a night when the biggest bone was gone.

But there was still plenty left to power the Northampton County High wishbone offense Friday night; enough even to help the Jaguars post a 42-32 win overRiversidein the opening round of the NC High School Athletic Association 1-AA football playoffs.

Senior running back Brian Lassiter suffered a knee injury in the regular season finale against Southeast Halifax that clinched the Tar-Roanoke Conference championship forNorthampton.  Lassiter was limited in practice this week and was scratched late from Friday’s line-up as he was unable to go.

In his stead, the remaining Jag runners racked up 278 yards against the Knight defense in the 10-point win.

Christian Boone collected the ‘hat-trick’ forNorthamptonwith three rushing touchdowns. Keion Crossen scampered for two more scores while Tyrell Powell ran in the other.

Fisher McInville connected on four-of-five extra point attempts andNorthamptonran in one two-point conversion.

The Knights were led by quarterback Matthew Wisniewski, who hooked up with receiver Ryan Wagner on three passing touchdowns, including one as time expired, while Jodarian Brown ran in a couple more.

Crossen was leading rusher for the Jaguars, finishing the night with 155 rushing yards.

Northamptonscored twice on their first two possessions in their first two opening drives, but then their offense became sluggish.Riverside, meanwhile, picked up their game after trailing at halftime, 14-7, and took the lead early in the third quarter.

But from there,Northamptonoutscored the visitors fromMartinCounty29-to-18, including 22 unanswered in the third.

“We stuck with our ‘Bone and just didn’t panic,” said Jags coach George Privott.  “They were shutting us down the whole night on our right side so we just ran left, left, left, and left some more,” he added. “They never adjusted to stop it.”

It looked likeRiversidewould have a tough time stopping the Jags from the opening kick as the home team went in front on just two plays in the game’s first 24 seconds.  Powell’s 24-yard scoring scamper followed a 50-yard run by Jabari Hargrove; which was followed by a McInville kick for a 7-0 lead.

Then, quicker than you could say, ‘Hot Chocolate’ – which the concession stand sold plenty of on this chilly night – the Jags found the end zone again.

This time it took them just three plays to go 62 yards for their second score three minutes later when Crossen swept left, naturally, and sprinted 47 yards down the sideline to cap the drive. However, McInville’s kick was wide-right, keeping the score 13-0 after one quarter of play.

Riverside coach Asim McGill made some adjustments after that and Wisniewski finally stopped overthrowing his receivers to get the Knights back into the game.

AfterNorthamptondrove to theRiversidesix-yard line, the Knights’ defense held and on fourth down the Jags attempted a field goal.  Instead, though, they tried faking outRiverside, but the Andrea Evans pass to Diyosha McGee was short.

The Knights then used ball control to go 94 yards on 16 plays to get their first score; twice going for it on fourth down.  After crossing midfield, Wisniewski connected on three straight passes to get into the red-zone where Brown did the rest; bulling his way over from two yards out to getRiversideon the scoreboard, 13-6.

Riverside came out fired up to start the second half and went 62 yards on their opening drive to take the lead, 14-13 after Brown scored his second two-yard touchdown and Wisniewski connected with Braxton Moore on a two-point conversion.

Northamptonanswered back with a quick score.Riversideshanked their kick, giving the Jags the ball near midfield. Then the wishbone offense, led by Boone, reeled off 49 yards in six plays to retake the lead, 21-14, as Boone scored both the touchdown and the extra points.

Northamptonrecovered the kickoff two straight times and turned it into 14 points.  Boone scored on a 20-yard sweep and Crossen went in from 18 yards out, the last one the final play of the third quarter that made the score, 35-14.

From there,Northamptonmilked the clock in the fourth quarter.

The Jags gave up back-to-back scores to the Knights as two scoring tosses from Wisniewski to Wagner got the visitors to within nine, 35-26.Northamptonthen had a clock-killing drive resulting in the Jags’ final touchdown of the night; Boone diving over from one-yard out.

Wisniewski found Wagner one final time just as the final whistle sounded but by thenNorthamptonhad booked a second-round date at home next week withGoldsboro, who beatDixon40-0.

“Nothing like home cooking,” said Privott with a laugh.